Your key UCaaS questions, answered

Did you view our recent UCaaS collaboration webinar? Our live group chat featured Allstream & Cisco experts standing by to answer these viewer questions.

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In our April 4 webinar called “Changing the Boundaries of Collaboration: UCaaS” we had an in-depth look  at enterprise collaboration in the cloud.  Many questions arose that our experts were standing by to answer, and below is the full questions and answer transcript to help guide you through this topic.


Is a UCaaS solution more expensive when compared to a premise-based solution?

ANSWER 1 from Dax Nair, Allstream:

That is a question that often comes up in discussions surrounding UCaaS. The simple answer is no. However, you need to realize that typically when a customer compares CPE deployments to cloud-based solutions, not all costs are accounted for.  For e.g. Maintenance, Software assurance, MACs, upgrades, operating & support costs etc. If you add up all your costs you may be surprised to find that a UCaaS solution often comes at a lower price point.


When moving UC to the Cloud, which components do you recommend starting off with?

ANSWER 2 from Ian Gallagher, Cisco Canada:

I would recommend starting with an analysis of the core and contextual elements of your current architecture.. This can vary, often based on the size of your organization.  Many large companies are developing the concept of a “session management” layer, or a communication “hub” to connect and integrate various communication systems and application environments – providing the flexibility for any “leaf” system that is connected to this hub to be either on premise or in the cloud. They want to be able to make a separate decision on consumption model for separate internal lines of business for instance.  Mid-size organizations might start with a new location… or a disaster recovery solution.  Any size of organization may look to cloud to create a cutting-edge “power user” environment that needs to always remain current, to provide a way to measure the business utility of the latest and greatest features.


You guys have spent a lot of time talking about SIP trunking and MPLS.  Do you need both to enable a UCaaS approach?

ANSWER 3 from Dax Nair, Allstream:

Yes, we definitely spend a lot of time talking about SIP and MPLS.  An end to end IP network is the optimum environment for UCaaS service. Allstream recommends SIP Trunks and MPLS networks for customers deploying UC as a CPE solution as well, to ensure that the customer benefits from its flexibility and Quality of Service.  Just to clarify, CPE stands for Customer Premises Equipment.


What’s the biggest deployment challenge? And where do things really go wrong when moving to the cloud?

ANSWER 4 from Ian Gallagher, Cisco Canada:

Similar to an on-premise deployment, the lack of proper planning and assessment is probably the single biggest deployment challenge. Work closely with your Service Provider to translate your business requirements into a UCaaS to minimize these issues!


I have an existing WAN service, so will I have to purchase another one to get a UCaaS service?


That depends.  The Service Provider will definitely need at least one access to reach your network.  If you already have QoS enable Network from the provider, you may be able to augment it, if the capacity exists.  You can connect your branches through an existing MPLS NW as well, provided it can handle the additional BW required to carry the real time traffic.


I realize it’s hard to be specific without doing a detailed calculation, but is there a rule of thumb or guideline for any savings you might get by moving your UC services to the cloud?


The simple answer is that it varies from customer to customer.  As mentioned in a previous question, typically when a customer compares CPE deployments to cloud-based solutions, not all costs are accounted for.  TCO calculations (total cost of ownership) that we have done show that the savings over a 5 year period can be 25 – 30% lower for UCaaS deployments.


I’m interested in moving my UC — well, my voice services — to the cloud — but the cost of moving from Centrex is far too high if I break my contract with Bell which has another full year to run. I feel like I’m stuck but not sure how to proceed.  What do you recommend, then, by way of a migration strategy?


As you can appreciate, a UCaaS deployment needs a fair bit of planning. If you adopt the Assess, Connect, Secure & Manage model, you will find that you can start nailing down the specifics of what you need and by when. Once you have determined that, you can start working on components that do not impact your current Centrex deployment, for e.g. LAN assessment, upgrdes, contract negotiation etc.


Does Allstream currently have a UCaaS service that I can get more information on?


Allstream is currently in the process of developing a UCaaS service which we expect to launch in the Canadian market in May. We would be happy to connect you with someone who can provide you more information.


Did you miss the webinar or want to view it again? No problem.  Access the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) – Changing the Boundaries of Enterprise Collaboration on-demand version 24/7.

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